There is much to be said for the customer journey — and many marketing experts say a great deal. Still, very few of today’s eCommerce brands know what it means to use customer data to understand the customer journey.
The result? Thousands — sometimes millions — of dollars are left on the table.
According to ClickZ, “23.2% of eCommerce only respondents and 12.1% of eCommerce plus brick and mortar retailers [pay] close attention to their customers’ paths to purchase.”
Not only does this reality lead eCommerce brands to shrug their shoulders at abandoned carts, but failing to “pay close attention to customers’ paths to purchase” causes brands to lose more substantial sales at checkout.
Data is King
Your website needs conversions to be successful. And since the industry standard is less than 3% for online store visitors choosing to buy, it makes sense that your brand should want to utilize every tool at its disposal to increase customer conversion.
The solution is more straightforward than you think: gather customer data. Today’s technology allows you to capture page visits, clicks, session duration, and more. Even free analytics tools from Google can help you intricately track each customer’s journey from brand awareness to purchase.
How Does Customer Data Help Drive Sales?
If you know that your spouse is allergic to seafood, you wouldn’t recommend Red Lobster for date night. Also, if you know that the majority of your customers are from Mexico, you wouldn’t flood them with products that are only popular in America.
The reason that eCommerce thought leaders make such a big deal about “the buyer’s journey” and “customer profiles” is because the line between profitability and irrelevance is very thin.
Failing to gather and assimilate customer data means losing money. Even if your revenues appear healthy, they are far below what they could be without that customer data.
Practical Ecommerce noted that purchase and browsing history are two critical points of data that tell you who your customer is and how they buy.
What Customer Data is Most Important?
The two main categories of vital customer data are demographics and buyer behavior.
Demographics are any personal detail about the customer that help you understand their lifestyle. For example, are you aware of the average age of your customers? Or, do you know their gender and location?
A lot of excellent demographics information is available to you once a customer creates a profile on your website. That said, most customers are not going to tell you everything about them in their profile, but the information you do get is still valuable customer data.
Customer behavior metrics are those that tell you what pages your customers like to visit, which products they add to their cart (or wish list), and, most importantly, what they’ve already bought.
When you know where their interests lie, this tells you about how they shop and their lifestyle needs.
Using these two categories of customer data will help you build intricate profiles for each segment of your customer base.
As support agents engage customers, the data will help them provide better answers to customer questions. Additionally, sales agents have the customer data that they need to upsell and cross-sell, especially if they are assisting returning customers.
What Does Customer Data Tell You?
After gathering customer data and building customer profiles, you will better understand:
- What your customers need (i.e., types of products)
- What your customers prefer (color, quantity, style, etc.) individually and collectively
- Which product features are most important to your customers
- When your customers need those products
- When they like to shop
- What your customers’ budgets look like (for example, are they primarily driven by promo and discount codes?)
- How long they need to shop before they buy
- Which products your customers may be unaware of but are relevant to their purchase history
- How different parts of your UX design may or may not be helping customers do business with your brand
Quite a vivid picture, isn’t it?
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How Should eCommerce Brands Leverage This Data?
Armed with customer profiles, eCommerce brands are able to invest their digital marketing dollars with more potency. Email marketing, PPC, and SEO efforts are far more effective with the right customer data.
However, the most critical moment in eCommerce sales often occurs in online chats between sales agents and customers. Live chat agents today can access a customer’s profile, as well as an up-to-date view of past orders and items in the customer cart — all in real-time. Because of today’s live chat technology, all a customer’s relevant information — including their demographics and behavior metrics — are viewable right in the chat window.
Sales agents equipped with this information in their chat window don’t have to waste time chasing down customer profiles on a CRM. As they manage several chat sessions at one time, this kind of information displayed in live chat allows agents to serve customers better, increase their purchase order with personalized suggestions, and to do it all within a shorter time frame.
Also, live chat agents must often lean upon canned answers for efficient service. But without the relevant customer data, these canned answers are unhelpful. Thus, live chat technology that can enhance every canned response with customer data included in the answer itself (using the same data variables often seen in email marketing).
Knowledge is Power
Oberlo found that almost 70% of online shoppers abandon their carts the first time.
On the one hand, abandoned carts mean lost sales. But eCommerce brands that learn to track customer behavior on their website are less alarmed.
Why are they less alarmed? Because they gathered customer data, and they can use what they know to engage their prospects until they are ready to buy.
Returning customers have already demonstrated their intent to buy. Tracking the behavior of returning customers means relevant product suggestions to increase customer interest and purchase volume.
Use digital tools to streamline that knowledge toward more sales.
Trying to gather and sort all customer data in a standard CRM or spreadsheet is not sustainable when it comes to using that information to convert your online visitors. Your eCommerce brand must have the tools that it needs to make the customer experience seamless.
10 years ago, Amazon found that every 100ms of latency cost them 1% in sales. Google found an extra .5 seconds in search page generation time dropped traffic by 20%. A broker could lose $4 million in revenues per millisecond if their electronic trading platform is 5 milliseconds behind the competition.
In eCommerce conversions, time is a critical factor. If live chat agents cannot access customer data efficiently, customers go elsewhere. The same is true for product recommendations.
eCommerce brands that can find the right digital tools to immediately collect customer data, organize that data into customer profiles, and automatically engage those customers whether they are in or away from the online store experience more sales.